ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday chaired a meeting to review the performance and other matters related to National Savings.
At the outset, the finance minister stated that it had come to his notice that an anomaly in the tax regime had resulted in taxation of yield on Behbood Certificates and Pensioners Benefits accounts. Apparently, the impact on taxation of these schemes was an unintended consequence of certain legal changes introduced in the Finance Act. He said that he has already instructed FBR to take appropriate measures to remove the anomaly.
DG Zafar Masud briefed the meeting on the performance of the National Savings during the last one year. The briefing covered the progress made in areas like financial inclusion through automation, the introduction of new products and improving the customer service and outreach.
The meeting was informed that National Savings has emerged as a formidable vehicle for financial inclusion with the introduction of popular welfare oriented products and registering a large number of customers, of which more than 50% were women. The efforts of National Savings are being actively supported by the World Bank and Karandaaz (DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) through up-gradation of IT system, offering alternate delivery channels (cell phone, internet banking and ATM cards), enterprise resource planning system (ERP), business intelligence, data warehouse, capacity building and training etc.
He said that the efforts of National Savings in promoting financial inclusion have been lauded and recognised, not only nationally but also internationally. The reputed CFI magazine the UK has recently bestowed on National Savings the award for “outstanding performance in promoting financial inclusion-2017”. The award is, in fact, a recognition of the progress made by National Savings in the last one year on the automation front with 2/3rd of the branches having been connected online and the offering of banking clearing services to the customers.
The meeting was informed that after the successful rollout of Rs 40,000 premium prize bond, the Rs 100,000 denomination bond is on the cards. The launch of Shuhada Families Welfare Account and extension of Behbud Saving Certificates for disabled persons is also coming up. Furthermore, the Overseas Pakistanis Savings Certificates and Shariah Compliant Products are also being considered.
DG National Savings further informed that for customer facilitation, SMS Service, access through social media and revamping of the institution’s website have been carried out. He said that a complaint resolution cell has been established at the DG’s Office which disposes of public complaints on daily basis.
Finance Minister appreciated the achievements made by the National Savings in various areas particularly financial inclusion and customer outreach. He also praised the performance of the institution for surpassing the annual savings target. He assured his continued support to National Savings in achieving the objective of greater financial inclusion. Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.